Steve Jobs Turtleneck
Steve Jobs Turtleneck
"I want to put a ding in the universe." -Steve Jobs
This specimen is a swatch of fabric from a black turtleneck owned by Steve Jobs. One of the earliest examples of what would eventually become Steve's trademark style, this turtleneck was worn by Steve at the 1991 PC Forum gathering. The turtleneck was sold by his personal assistant and purchased at a public auction.
The specimen first appeared in the Third Edition of the Mini Museum. Now that specimen production for the Third Edition is complete, we are happy to offer the remaining material as a stand-alone item
The specimen measures 1x1 cm and is enclosed inside an acrylic specimen jar. The jar is enclosed inside a classic, glass-topped riker display case. A small information card is also enclosed.
The future of computing
Beginning life as the adopted son of working-class parents, Steven Paul Jobs rose to the height of global business. His companies revolutionized several different industries and his countercultural vision reshaped much of the modern technological world.
Steve Jobs is most famous for founding Apple with his business partner and engineering wizard Steve Wozniak. In April of 1976, the two Steve's (just 21 and 26 years old), and electronics journeyman Ronald Wayne, launched the company. Their first product, the Apple-1, was just a raw motherboard.
Even though this first product was rough, the promise of the Apple-1 was not in the business of making and selling components, but rather in the concept of a personal computer that could be purchased by millions. This concept was realized with the introduction of the Apple II, which went on to carve out a place near the top of the young, personal computer industry.
While Jobs always worked hard to cultivate Apple's image as a futuristic tech company, he also carefully crafted his own image as the head of that company. Jobs partnered with the Japanese designer Issey Miyake to create a company uniform for Apple, after being inspired by the artist's work making employee vests for Sony. The idea did not go over so well with Apple employees, but Jobs and Miyake ended up making a uniform all the same — the iconic black turtleneck.
This specimen is a piece of fabric from one of Jobs's turtlenecks. It comes from the 1991 PC Forum gathering, where he promoted his new computer company, NeXT. It was an early appearance of his iconic style, which was later gifted to his personal assistant and eventually purchased at public auction.
The specimen is enclosed in a handsome, glass-topped riker box case measuring 4 1/2" x 3 1/2". A small information card which serves as the authenticity statement is also included.
📸 This picture was taken at the 1991 PC Forum gathering where Steve was promoting NeXT.
MORE ABOUT STEVE JOBS
📸 JOBS DURING THE APPLE II'S UNVEILING AT THE WEST COAST COMPUTER FAIRE, 1977.
The origins of Apple
As with any long-lived company in a fast moving industry, the history of Apple is very complex. Steve himself said that he was very fortunate to come of age at a time when the computer industry was very young:
"There weren't many degrees offered in computer science, so people in computers were brilliant people from mathematics, physics, music, zoology, whatever. They loved it, and no one was really in it for the money..."
Early competitors like Tandy, Atari, and Commodore were replaced with the monolithic IBM. Apple itself went through a major transition as it developed adaptations of XEROX PARC's graphical interface for the Lisa, and later, the Macintosh.
In 1985, Steve was ousted by the board of Apple as the head of the Macintosh group, effectively firing him from the company. Steve put it this way, "What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. I was a very public failure."
📸 The turtleneck worn by Jobs at the 1991 PC Forum gathering, where he promoted his new company: NEXT
Jobs after Apple
After a summer of intense soul-searching, Steve decided to start a new computer company called NeXT.
In many ways, NeXT represented the focal turning point for Steve's career. While the company never managed to deliver the expected sales of its innovative hardware, their software products became very influential.
While NeXT would consume much of Steve's energy over the next decade, Steve did find time to speculate in the field of computer animation after purchasing a division of Lucasfilm in order to form a new company called Pixar.
Pixar was headed by visionary computer animation pioneer Ed Catmull. During the company's early years they developed high-performance computer graphics equipment and software. They also produced short animations, winning an Academy Award in 1989 for Tin Toy. This creative work led to an opportunity to produce the first feature length, computer animated film called Toy Story.
📸 Steve Jobs unveiling the iPhone at the 2007 MacWorld conference
Returning to Apple
More than just a milestone in computer animation, Toy Story would become the highest grossing film of 1995. Steve used the success of the film to drive a wildly successful and bold public offering of Pixar, instantly becoming a billionaire.
This stunning success was followed by Steve's surprising return to Apple a year later. Apple had fallen far behind its rivals and efforts to update its flagship operating system had stalled. To reinvigorate the company, the board agreed to purchase NeXT in a bid to incorporate their technology and staff into the next generation of Apple. The move brought Steve onto the board of directors and a year later he would return to the helm of the company as CEO.
At the time, Apple's fortunes were much reduced, but Steve managed to turn the company around by changing the entire focus of the business from a niche computer company to a consumer electronics leader. This wasn't an easy process, nor was it particularly quick, but it began with the launch of the iPod music player in 2001. By 2004, the iPod was introduced to the world of Windows which opened an enormous market for Apple. Licensing deals in the world of music, and later publishing, film, and television, brought content to the iPod and set the stage for what would become the most profitable product in history: the iPhone.
The iPhone launched in 2007, selling roughly 1.4 million units. In the following years, the company would sell tens of millions, then hundreds of millions of iPhones. On July 27th, 2016, Apple marked its one billionth iPhone sale. This extremely profitable product has established Apple as the most valuable company in the world.
📸 JOBS WITH AN APPLE MACINTOSH.
The home today
Yet, in the midst of this stunning turnaround, human frailty caught up with Steve. In 2004 he was diagnosed with a rare form of Pancreatic cancer. Steve would battle on and off with the disease until his death in 2011, often downplaying the effects or blaming his appearance on other illnesses so that he could continue to lead Apple through to achieving his vision for Apple.
"I think one of the things that really separates us from the high primates is that we’re tool builders. I read a study that measured the efficiency of locomotion for various species on the planet. The condor used the least energy to move a kilometer. And, humans came in with a rather unimpressive showing, about a third of the way down the list. It was not too proud a showing for the crown of creation. So, that didn’t look so good. But, then somebody at Scientific American had the insight to test the efficiency of locomotion for a man on a bicycle. And, a man on a bicycle, a human on a bicycle, blew the condor away, completely off the top of the charts.
"And that’s what a computer is to me. What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds." ~ Steve Jobs, 1995
Front of the Specimen Card
Back of the Specimen Card
Isaacson, Walter, and Steve Jobs. “Steve Jobs: A Biography” New York (2011)
Catmull, Ed. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the unseen forces that stand in the way of true inspiration. Random House, 2014.
Brennan, Chrisann. The Bite in the Apple: A Memoir of My Life with Steve Jobs. Macmillan, 2013.